India`s young brigade hopes to shine in Asian badminton C`ship

New Delhi: India`s young brigade, including Sai Praneeth and Saurabh Verma, will look to create a few upsets when they take on their higher-ranked opponents in the Asian Badminton Championship starting tomorrow in ChengDu, China.

The Indian team, sans Ajay Jayaram who pulled out at the last moment due to injury, will be led by Praneeth and Saurabh in the men`s singles and the duo would hope to make their presence felt in the prestigious international tournament.

In his first year in senior international circuit, Praneeth has shown sparks of brilliance. The Andhra Pradesh boy will take on Yu Hsien Lin of Chinese Taipei in his first-round matc .

The 18-year-old has won the singles and doubles title at the Sub-Junior Nationals in Dehradun and also the doubles bronze medal at Youth Commonwealth Games at Pune in 2008.

He also won the team bronze medal at the Junior World Championship and the 35th National Junior Championships (Dec 3 to 10).

Madhya Pradesh lad, Saurabh, who won the All India Senior Ranking tournament held at Atul, Gujarat in Feb, will be up against Malaysian Mohamad Arif Abdul Latif in the first round.

The 19-year-old Verma also had reached the quarter-finals of the Scottish Open in 2009.

Pune girl Aditi Mutatkar will lead Indian charge in the women`s singles and will have a tough customer in Salakjit Ponsana of Thailand as her first-round opponent.

In men`s doubles, India`s young pair of Pranav Chopra and Tarun Kona will face Chinese duo of Xiaolong Liu and Zihan Qiu in their opener.

While Akshay Dewalkar and Arun Vishnu will be up against Japanese pair of Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa in the first round.

In the women`s double, Aprna Balan and Prajakta Sawant will take on local pair of Shu Cheng and Jin Ma, while Pradnya Gadre and Jyotshna Polavarapu will be up against third seeds Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna of Japan.

One half of the Commonwealth Games gold medallist in women`s doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa will pair up with Tarun Kona in the mixed doubles category. The duo will be up against fifth seeds Hung Lin Chen and Wen Hsing Cheng of Chinese Taipei.

Another Indian mixed doubles pair of Pranav Chopra and Prajakta Sawant will face Mohammad Rijal and Debby Susanto of Indonesia, while Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan will face Baek Cheol Shin and Min Jung Kim of Korea.


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